THE urban housing specialist company behind the £24million transformation of Bolton’s Globe Works into 150 apartments has revealed proposals for an even bigger 500 flat development in the town centre.

Doncaster-based Empire Property has acquired a nearby site and is shortly to submit an outline planning application to the borough council.

Provided the scheme is approved, building work will start early next year.

Cllr Martyn Cox, Bolton Council's deputy leader, described the news as 'a vote of confidence in our town centre'.

Empire managing director Paul Rothwell is tight-lipped about the exact location and the investment in the development other than to say it will be a new build, mixed-use scheme with approximately 500 one, two and three-bedroom flats on a brownfield site.

He revealed the cost would be even bigger than the firm's £24m investment into the conversion of the seven-storey Globe Works former textile mill between Bridgeman Place and Lower Bridgeman Street.

He said he was ‘excited' to be increasing the company’s contribution to regenerating the central area of Bolton.

The new development will be Empire’s third major project in the town as it previously converted of the six-storey Sun Alliance House building in Bradshawgate into 81 flats.

Mr Rothwell, said: “When we first visited Globe Works Mill with a view to purchasing it, I felt sad that this amazing landmark building was being left to rot.

“This is a gateway site and deserved to be preserved. And what a fantastic way to bring people into this area of the town.

“We have kick-started the regeneration of this part of Bolton and now that we have the opportunity to develop the nearby site, we will be extending the reach of the town centre, creating a new community. It’s really exciting.”

Cllr Cox, Bolton Council's regeneration boss, said: "What is interesting is that a private sector company is prepared to make this sort of significant investment in Bolton Town centre.

"It is a vote of confidence in our town centre and is something to be encouraged,

"Empire deserve a pat on the back. Now let's have a look at the plans."

Empire has already sold many of the ‘Manhattan-style’ loft apartments at Globe Works off plan and will soon open a marketing suite and show home. The flats are cost between £148,500 to £324,500.The proposed new flats will be priced in a similar range.